First Grade is a tough grade...at least it seems to be for the Maher kids. I remember Bridget spending that year in timeout...it was an emotional roller-coaster ride with her at the helm for that year. So I was prepared for some challenging times with Joe.
Yes, the first few months of First Grade had been less than smooth let's say. He wasn't showing the proper amount of respect to adults in his life and he was having issues with listening the "first time" to directions. So I did what any type A, Virgo, control freak mother would. I made sticker charts...2 of them. One chart was for "Listening the First Time" - 10 stickers = 1 pack of sugar-free gum...and a "Respect Chart" - 5 stickers = 1 book order from the Scholastic Book Order forms that the school sends home. Well...this positive reinforcement stuff is great...for a kid like Bridget (this would be all I need to whip her into shape)...but for Joe...No. I also had to resort to taking away privileges...like watching TV and playing video games on the weekend...I almost had to resolve to corporal punishment...:o). Luckily I can report that his behavior is much improved...and we are now down to mostly a reward system...that I don't even need to use that often b/c he knows the behavior is expected all the time.
All this being said...this was a big year for me letting go a little and recognizing that some of the control I have been exerting in the diabetes department needed to ease so that my boy could grow up not only with decent A1Cs (this is the measurement that is done every 3 months to make sure his diabetes is in good control)...but I needed to make sure he was happy and felt in control of his own life. I added snack cart as a choice from school....this wasn't a choice last year...he was allowed to choose 1 hot lunch from school a week in kindergarten...this year I added that he could either have 1 hot lunch a week OR 1 snack cart a week (he could choose 1 plain milk with 1 item from the cart...and I keep my fingers crossed that the 1 item is NOT the Honey Bun). The snack cart is tough b/c the kids are allowed like 2 drinks (a juice and a milk) and 2 food items...a child could easily come away with 80-100grams of carbohydrate from that cart...this is why I was so against it. Joe has only chosen snack cart 4 times this year and he is great about only walking away with his plain milk and a cereal bowl. The first time he chose snack cart, I was called into school b/c he was refusing the snack I had packed him from home...I arrived at school and I saw many of his peers skipping away from the cafeteria with little brown paper bags in hand...swinging to and fro laden with their snack choices for the day...It hit me ... he just wanted to do what his friends were doing.
My heart was heavy that day...I know silly over such a small thing as the snack cart...it was good for me...it was the day that I decided to loosen up a bit...and I regained a little of the old me and Joe gotta stretch his first grade spirit a little bit...and feel more in control.